The U.S Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has added Guyana to the list of countries that pregnant women should avoid traveling to because of the presence of the Zika mosquito virus.
Barbados and Saint Martin are also on the list along with Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Cape Verde, Samoa, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory; Brazil; Colombia; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Martinique; Mexico; Panama; Paraguay; Suriname; and Venezuela.
Guyana has had only one recorded case of the virus. However, there have been thousands of cases in neghbouring Brazil and many Guyanese travel daily in the bordering regions between Guyana and Brazil.
The CDC has stated that as more information becomes available, the travel alerts will be updated.
“Travelers to areas where cases of Zika virus infection have been recently confirmed are at risk of being infected with the Zika virus. Travelers to these areas may also be at risk of being infected with dengue or chikungunya viruses”, the statement said.
According to the CDC, mosquitoes that spread Zika, chikungunya, and dengue are aggressive daytime biters, prefer to bite people, and live indoors and outdoors near people.
The CDC also reminded that there is no vaccine or medicine available for Zika virus and the best way to avoid the Zika virus infection is to prevent mosquito bites.
Symptoms of the zika virus according to the CDC, include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes. Other commonly reported symptoms include muscle pain, headache, and pain behind the eyes.
It said the illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon and case fatality is low.
“Until more is known, and out of an abundance of caution, CDC continues to recommend that pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant take the following precautions:
- Pregnant women in any trimester should consider postponing travel to the areas where Zika virus transmission is ongoing. Pregnant women who must travel to one of these areas should talk to their doctor or other healthcare professional first and strictly follow steps to avoid mosquito bites during the trip.
- Women trying to become pregnant should consult with their healthcare professional before traveling to these areas and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during the trip“